A peep into life in Africa, through the eyes of an African Reformed Baptist pastor.

Water, water, water, everywhere. What else do you expect? I am a Baptist, and I live in the land of the mighty Victoria Falls!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nelson “Madiba” Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, affectionately known as Madiba, was buried last Sunday. Once upon a time the world’s most famous prisoner, he left this life on 5th December and we have seen his remains interred at an event viewed by the entire world. God has a way of reversing a man’s fortunes. Here is a man who was shut out from the view of the world for twenty-seven years. Now in his death, he brings the whole world to a stand still with about one hundred heads of governments going over to attend his funeral!

Writing a blog post on Mandela is very difficult. I feel like a candle holding out light to the sun. Mandela’s public persona looms large over southern Africa, and indeed across the whole planet. Who does not know about him already? So, what is there to say that has not been said? As I put pen to paper, therefore, my aim is not to say anything new. I want to write as an evangelical leader in Africa about something that has happened on our continent and has gripped the attention of the whole world. A huge oak tree has fallen in the village. I must join the conversation by contributing two lines of thought.

A Terrorist and Communist?
Although an overwhelming number of articles in newspapers and magazines, and posts on blogs and Facebook are very positive, it is amazing that there are a number of very negative posts as well. While many have hailed Mandela as perhaps the greatest African leader, others have dismissed him as a terrorist and communist. How, can one explain this?

Here is my take on the negative sentiments. Everyone who has labelled Mandela as a terrorist and communist have gone to fish for data from the period leading up to Mandela’s arrest when he went into guerrilla warfare in his quest to fight for the rights of his people—the black people of South Africa. Without seeking to give a blanket approval to any form of fighting, I only ask that those who give us “proof” that Mandela was a terrorist and communist should give the context from which they are fishing their data. It would be helpful in enabling their readers to make a more informed judgment.

In Long Walk To Freedom, Mandela explains why he went into guerrilla warfare. As one of South Africa’s first lawyers to set up his own private practice, Mandela says that he first tried the legal route in his fight for the democratic rights of black people. The brutality of the Apartheid government is what made him realise that this was not working. Hence, he says, he was forced to go into guerrilla warfare and to seek to work together with the communist party in South Africa though he did not share in their philosophy. They had a common enemy—South Africa’s Apartheid government. In his book, Mandela makes it clear that the aim of the African National Congress (ANC) was to target installations (and not individuals) in order to make governing South Africa impossible. Sabotage, rather than terrorism, was the goal.

It seems to me that the best time to judge a man is when he is in full control of a situation. In other words, was there anything in Mandela to suggest that he was a brutal murderer and a communist when he now took over the reigns of government as South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994? I get the impression that during his one term in office, Mandela showed that his heart was really for BOTH black and white South Africans to enjoy their God-given freedom as equal citizens of the country. He did not want any race to dominate another either by political or economic power.

Personally, I think that anyone who writes about Mandela and leaves us with a negative impression of his political ideals tells us more about himself than he tells us about Mandela. Madiba is too tall a figure to be painted black by a dwarf. For the cause for which he lived, i.e. the freedom of all the people of his country, it is difficult to find someone else alive today who can be a better icon. Facts are very stubborn things. The best we can do is to admit them. Mandela was an African liberator par excellence!

Was he a perfect man? I would not say so. Like the rest of us, he had his warts and all. For instance, his views of human freedom failed to take cognisance of the effect of the fall in Genesis 3. Thus, under his rule, South Africa came up with a constitution that is perhaps the most liberal in Africa, even giving freedom to homosexuals to practice openly and for abortion to be given on demand. Sex needs to have its boundaries. If government gives free rein to this area of life, it destroys the next generation morally and opens the door to a silent genocide. That is certainly a negative legacy that Madiba left us with. His logic for racial equality, when applied in this area, went one step too far.

May His Soul Rest In Peace?
My chief concern is with the ease with which many evangelical Christians have used the words, “Rest in peace” as they have bade farewell to Madiba. I am also an evangelical. I take my Bible seriously and interpret it literally. In my understanding of the Bible, the only persons who will rest in peace in eternity are those who have repented of their sins and put their trust in Jesus Christ as their only hope of acceptance with God.  The Bible says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36, ESV).

I have a friend who once worked in the Zambian High Commission in South Africa. He wrote a book entitled, Why Is God Silent About Mandela? It was a clever way of asking the question, “Why is Mandela silent about God?” He noted that although Mandela did not vilify religion in general and Christianity in particular, neither did he say anything that showed his faith in God and especially in his Son Jesus Christ. Yes, Mandela had a Methodist background. However, any evangelical will know that growing up in church does not make one a Christian. You must personally turn to God in repentance and put your trust in Jesus Christ. On this matter, Mandela was conspicuous by his silence.

This should not take away anything from the good that Madiba did. He did a lot of good for us by his fight for a democratic South Africa. He did a lot of good for us by his example of not being bitter after spending the best part of his adult life as a political prisoner. He did a lot of good for us by showing that an African president can step down from office on his own accord without waiting for public opinion to turn against him or without bringing the whole nation down together with him. Madiba did a lot of good. But if I read my Bible correctly, no one enters heaven by his own good works. This is because our good works are tainted with sin. The best of men are men at best. God is absolutely holy and is of such pure eyes that to him our good works are like filthy rags.

So, may we please be balanced as we reflect on Nelson Madiba Mandela? There is a difference between God’s common grace and his special grace. God can give someone plenty of the former and deny him the latter. In this matter God is sovereign. Let us admit it. A political giant has been laid to rest this week. There is a lot of good that we can learn from his life as a political player. As I said before, to argue against that does not tell us anything about Mandela. It tells us a lot about you! However, without being over judgemental—seeing that we do not know what is in the human heart—those of us who are evangelical Christians should at best admit the fact that Mandela’s silence on his own profession of faith does not inspire us to say, “May his soul rest in peace.”

38 comments:

  1. Thanks for a blanced view. I must add though that whether we are Christians or not Christians is what matter in life and in deafth. I say this because I believe that only 2. worldviews exist. The Christian and non Christian worldviews. All who dies without Christ will perish for eternity. Whatever Mandela achieved was only possible because such has been ordained by God. Repentance from sin is an evidence of genuine faith. I understand that Mandela went into guerilla warfare and hos acts led to the death of thousands, both black and white. I am not aware of him apologizing to his victims. Nothing can ever justify killing.

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    1. Ademola, I hope I am not conveying the impression that deaths caused by Mandela's Umkhonto we Sizwe were justified. All I am saying is that it was a bloody fight. Please keep this context in mind. Pointing out only one side of the fight does not help those who are trying to understand that piece of human history. South Africa went through a very dark period, with two sides locking horns. While the elephants were fighting, the grass below their feet got trampled and suffered immensely. The conflict was brought about by a very erroneous philosophy. That is now behind them. One of Mandela's iconic feats was precisely that of bringing healing to a nation that was coming out of such a bloody fight, especially that he himself was part of that fight--both as victim as well as victor. That is all I am saying.

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  2. Thank you for this well balanced and insightful post...

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  3. Thank you for this article. It is indeed well done and serves the greater Christian good! Blessings! :)

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  4. Dr. Mbewe. You answered my questions that I asked you with such satisfactory and gracious overtones, it should challenge ALL of us to be balanced in our positions. God bless you brother!

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  5. Thanks for a balanced African perspective on Mandela; when it comes to evaluating politicians, I think it is very unhelpful to discuss their faith as this is open to incredible abuse; for instance Mangosuthu Buthelezi (leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party), Frederick Chiluba (Former Zambian President) and even Mubutu Sese Seko (former DRC President), the list goes on and on, were all professing Christians and yet their political careers suggest very flawed men indeed their legacy leaves much to be desired. Methinks that what matters is whether Mandela left an admirable legacy and the answer from where I stand is certainly; as to his eternal destiny as Evangelicals we know that it is through Christ alone that we are reconciled to God (but that is not relevant to this discussion and it certainly adds no value). I think it was Calvin who said something to the effect that it does not matter to be ruled even by a Mahommadan (as they were then referred to) as long as he is smart (because that is what we require from a political leader), if he was a pastor my response will be completely different!

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  6. I cannot help but think that you sound as if you are attempting to reconcile what the members of your congregation would want to hear about Mandela with the truth. You say that he makes it clear that his aim was to target installations, not individuals. Installations such as shopping centers? If it were your innocent loved ones killed there, you would surely not be so apologetic for him. You also say that he should be judged by what he did when he was fully in power. He legalized abortion, the murder of innocent babies, while he was in power. I am sorry, but the only standard he can be judged on is God's standard. Whatever 'good' he may have done, by God's standards he was an evil man who was an enemy of our true King. This is what Christians need to say, no matter how unpopular it may be.

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    1. I agree, James; Nelson Mandela can ONLY be judged by God's standards. He may have targeted only certain installations, but the countless murders of those in the womb, that he himself sanctioned by an edict, speaks volumes about this man and his apparent hatred for the lives of the truly innocent. He was no hero by any stretch of the imagination.

      Here was a president, who had a chance to CREATE his own little microcosm, and to pass laws for the moral benefit and good of a great nation of people, and instead he chose to CREATE a nation of baby killers, and give his full blessings to it. Few people are given the chance to directly effect the moral outcome of a nation, but Nelson Mandela left an indelible mark upon a country already torn by hatred, and it was NOT for the better. Make no mistake about that.

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  7. My friend Donna Pinazzo recently asked me a very deep, penetrating question, “How much good did Nelson Mandela do?” My response to her was, “The only way to "rightly" assess and answer that question is through the lens of Scripture. We are to filter all our perceptions through the Bible and judge all things accordingly.” So if the Bible, God’s Word, is the standard by which all things are judged good or evil, we can be confident that God will give us the answer.

    I think the answer can be found in the word emancipation, or more appropriately, the concept. The word emancipation is often used solely as a political term, and far less often in a biblical context. However, the idea is pretty broad and comprehensive, in content and application; and it is certainly biblical at its very core. Here is one of several definitions: The state of being thus set free; liberation; used of slaves, minors, of a person from prejudices, of the mind from superstition, of a nation from tyranny or subjection.

    In Biblical parlance, emancipation means to be set free from the slavery of sin; to be set free from the inevitable torture of hell; to be set free from the trappings of this world, and set free to honor and bring glory to God. That is a whole lot more freedom offered to mankind than a mere “temporal/ephemeral" freedom from tyranny. That is precisely why Nelson Mandel’s brand of freedom is an EPIC fail, and only a temporary reprieve from the hauntings and horrific consequences of Tyrants. This is all the more reason to reach people with the Gospel message. It is of utter importance to a true, lasting, and eternal emancipation. Had Nelson Mandela concentrated on the needs of the eternal soul, instead of the needs of the flesh, I would not hesitate to call him a hero, that aside: he never, to my knowledge, anyway, took the true torch of freedom (the Gospel message) to the world-at-large, and more specifically, to the neediest of all men: his own kinsmen.

    Nelson Mandela’s sickness is in a much broader realm, though. He didn’t merely have a light dalliance with abortion, pornography, or homosexuality, but set in motion, by passing laws that would fix a nations ETERNAL destiny. Those very symbols and actions of evil would grip a nation and cause lawlessness to garner a very strong foothold. Any leader has a profound effect upon the morality of a nation; and NM was no exception. Mandela’s approach was identical to the approach Erasmus took in confronting Martin Luther. Erasmus wanted a peace at any cost, while Luther wanted a peace according to the strict mandates and sound guidance of Scripture.

    Nelson Mandela’s life’s work was of NO eternal consequence, whatsoever. All the things he may have accomplished during his lifetime, were an EPIC fail. He only managed to alleviate a very small fraction of human suffering, and possibly, according to various sources and reports, did equal in damage to blacks and whites along the way.

    What says emancipation more succinctly than the Gospel message? Any other attempt to alleviate the sufferings of mankind, devoid of God's Word is simply self-aggrandizement.

    Lastly, I believe this poem by C.T Studd has the final word.
    .
    “Two little lines I heard one day,
    Traveling along life’s busy way;
    Bringing conviction to my heart,
    And from my mind would not depart;
    Only one life, ’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Only one life, yes only one,
    Soon will its fleeting hours be done;
    Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet,
    And stand before His Judgment seat;
    Only one life,’twill soon be past,
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

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  8. My most current FB status... a reply to this and other 'letters' I've read....

    It saddens me that Mandela is getting a 'free pass', by men I consider 'solid Christians'. They seem to be ignoring the FACT that he signed into law one of the most liberal laws to legalize abortion, not only that but even state funded abortion (over 900,000 babies aborted since being made law).... are babies in their mother's wombs of less value than someone outside the womb? It's as if his doing away with apartheid (and yes, apartheid was wicked) has somehow purchased him this 'pass'..... Has the secular worldview of 'the baby is part of the mother's body and can do what she wants with her body' crept in unaware? Is it because the murdered babies do not have a voice to cry out about the injustice and are therefore being ignored? Is it maybe fear of being perceived as 'bashing' someone who the world has praised as a 'great man' thus fear tarnishing their own image? Not sure why this is happening but it is sad regardless the reason....

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  9. I think that what Dr. Conrad Mbewe is trying to do is call a good man good and not call him a righteous man because he was not that. Righteousness relates to God's law and Mandela knew and cared nothing of that and so he could not be righteous. Surely, it is not humane to call a man, who has done so much good, bad for 'fewer bad things' he did. Mandela's praise is based on the overall picture that has made South Africa be what it is today. South Africa's position today ranks high in many ways except perhaps the moral stand. Let us be fair that prejudice does not cause us to minimize the maximum and maximize the minimum. Mandela stands taller than most world leaders we idolize. Let us give praise where it is due. Dr. Mbewe tried to do that bearing in mind he could not extract righteous acts from Mandela, but plenty of good acts which the entire world paused to celebrate when the Hero passed on. Look at the Heroes of the faith in the book of Hebrews Chapter 11. If I had compiled that list, it would...

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    1. This type of political view, I fear has what lead the USA to where we are today.... Christians in the US have been embracing the 'lesser evil' (politically speaking) for a long time (vote for "A" because "A" wants to kill babies than "B" does) ... of course what is happening? We are still embracing evil.... it appears the many years of such a philosophy has lead to where we are now and we see 'evil' increasing exponentially.... I fear it will not be much longer before the USA is no a 'world power' and many of our freedoms will disappear.... and some already are.... as well as evil being condoned by our government, ei.... abortion, homosexual 'rights', now polygamy(coming soon), free speech rights being taken away, discrimination against anything 'Christian', massive economic waste, etc....

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  10. I appreciate the intention to use discernment when it comes to the estimation of a man. We must always use discernment when it comes to the measure of men.
    However, the Christians’ discernment of course is only such if it's regulated and restrained by the scriptures. When men compare themselves by themselves, they detrimentally err. The Lord does not compare men with men; or greater evil with lesser evils, in order to redeem some notion of goodness in a cistern wholly wicked. No, the Christians' declaration is thus; There is none good, no not one. They are altogether become unprofitable; there is no one who does good, no not one; not one good deed done by any man apart from the Lord, whatever it may be; however it may present itself. Vile I say is man in the sight of God, vile is man even in the sight of some men.
    There is nothing to redeem in man. Any apparent goodness that men facsimile is nothing more than trespass and plagiarization of Gods’ goodness; it is exceedingly offensive, not to be admired. Even the lost man who has a higher sense of rationale (as much as he could) would view a man that supports abortion as a man who has absolutely no merit in the common good of man. The mothers’ womb; a place a nurture and protection for such a small beautiful human life...I must ask a common sense question: How can a man that purports support for the infringement on the most secure and nurturing place on earth, to kill and destroy, ever be admired for doing any good at all whatsoever. If a man cannot be rational enough to see the importance of protecting the human life where it is already protected (the womb), then his entire philosophy for the 'social good' of man will be detrimentally and intrinsically flawed in every single way, not to be trusted in any area having to do with the good of men.
    You said: "That is certainly a negative legacy that Madiba left us with. His logic for racial equality, when applied in this area, went one step too far." . This is ineffably an understatement of understatements. Murder of children, murder of little ones, is more than a step; not something to be 'skipped over' with brief mention. His support for abortion is very much the same as if he would be standing with Baal worshippers rolling their children into the fire. I could not and would not write anything favorable about such a man. Such is the evil of men and such is the evil of this man and countless others. We must not flatter with words about men before many men, nor within the solitary confines of our own minds. We must not find ourselves attempting to find some good virtue in their devilish actions; no, we must Preach the Gospel to lost dying men who rather die than to know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    I have heard some of your preaching and the Lord has profited me from it, but this is disappointing. I know not why I write this to you other than I somehow stumbled across this blog post and couldn't forego not relaying these thoughts to you. Let me add that even though I know your intent is to be 'balanced', there is no such relevance when it comes to the measure of a man specifically or the measure of men collectively. A balance view is irrelevant, a scriptural view is of the only relevance; a balanced view is impossibility. As another comment noted, there are two groups: Those reconciled to God through Jesus Christ or those abiding in the wrath of God apart from his eternal goodness and graciousness. We ought to preach the Gospel to both; believers for their edification and unbelievers for their salvation; praying that God will work, expecting Him to work far beyond what we could ask or think. If I misread your post or received the wrong intimation from it, I pray this will be more of an encouragement than a rebuke.

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  11. Dear brother Mbewe,

    After hearing your God-glorifying preaching recently in Grand Rapids, I was hoping for a more prophetic response.

    Nobody needed to fish for information about Mandela’s being an underground leader of the Communist Party, as you accuse in your blog post.

    The information was delivered to the public by way of a press release to the public on 6 December 2013, compliments Mandela’s own party, the ANC, and the South African Communist Party. I read it in a business newspaper: http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/2013/12/06/sacp-confirms-nelson-mandela.

    Read the South African Communist Party statement here http://www.sacp.org.za/main.php?ID=4154

    Read Comrade (Cde) Nelson Mandela’s own party, the ANC’s, statement here: http://anc.org.za/nelson/show.php?id=10658

    What is historic about these admissions is that Mandela, the ANC, and the SACP have up to his death absolutely DENIED that Mandela was a Communist Party member. Now even the skeptics cannot deny that Mandela not only been a MEMBER of the Communist Party, he was top brass, the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Nelson Mandela was one of Africa’s top Communist leaders at the time of his Rivonia trial.

    So . . .
    * Mr. Mandela was lying in his historic Rivonia trial speech, “An Ideal for which I am prepared to die” speech. Mandela says ". . . I have never been a member of the Communist Party." And again, “I turn now to my own position. I have denied that I am a Communist. . .” He even suggests that he had tried to purge the ANC of Communist influence.

    *And Mr.Mandela lied in his 1994 autobiography Long Walk to Freedom, where he repeatedly denied being a Communist Party member. The book is carefully crafted to project Mandela’s association with Communism as a loose partnership of mutual convenience.

    *And Mr. Mandela lied in authorizing the biography by Anthony Sampson, in 1999 and 2011, where again the same denial is stated.

    *On several occasions after his release from prison Mr.Mandela kept up the denial publically in interviews etc. Why? Perhaps for the same reason the deputy genl.secretary of the South African Communist Party gave last week: “At the time Mandela was released from prison the Soviet Union was crumbling and there was too much negativity around the Soviet system." (http://www.bdlive.co.za/national/politics/2013/12/06/sacp-confirms-nelson-mandela-was-a-member)

    Evidence for Mandela’s top Communist Party leadership had already been uncovered by Stephen Elllis, 'British professor at the Africa Study Center (University of Leiden) and Free University (Amsterdam), in 2011 (“The Genesis of the ANC’s Armed Struggle in South Africa 1948–1961,” 2011 in Journal of Southern African Studies), but even then the ANC,SACP and Mandela would not admit. The timing of the simultaneous ANC/SACP admissions may indicate the ANC and SACP were hoping the noise of the Mandela-mania would drown the importance of the admission.

    The recent revelations cannot be blamed on those who are now calling attention to the facts. It was Mandela and his powerful friends that had up to now been taking great care to hide the truth.

    There are some things to admire in Mandela. But let's not be romantic and naive. His public image is the result of careful stagecraft. Christians should be sober-minded (1 Pet.1:13)

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    1. So Antoine, what is that prophetic response that you were hoping for and did not get? I think you forgot to say that it is Dr Peter Hammond that most Anglo Americans are raving about! (The same voices that were and continue to be conveniently silent about the evil atrocities of the Apartheid regime and are now suddenly 'prophetic', might I add!)

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    2. Dear Mosala, as Christians we serve Christ alone. There is one God who has made of one blood all nations of men. And there is one Word of God that is God’s holy law for yellow, black and white in Asia, in Africa, and in America – no exceptions.

      Why defend Mandela's Marxist belief in violence as a political solution? Moreover, to try and do so by repeating the untruths that Mandela expediently peddled (see my first comment about some of Mandela's persistent lies.) Thankfully Pastor Mbewe does not defend Mandela's abortion legacy. Please, Mosala, do not be blinded by your admiration for the myth of Mandela. “God is no acceptor of persons.” (Acts 10:34) God is not partial in his love, nor does He bend the rules for anyone. His law is holy and good and eternal and universal.

      Apartheid was no excuse for murder and violence. There had been many black Christian leaders who, like Mangosuthu Buthelezi, consistently condemned Apartheid wrongdoings and also opposed the violent revolutionary methods of the ANC and Mandela. Mandela never condemned the ANC killing of civilians while he was imprisoned, even when he had access to outside leaders (from beginning 1980's)

      And when Mandela became president, he rewarded those responsible for military attacks on civilian lives (like the Church Street bomb attack, planned by the Communist trained Joe Slovo, MK commander. Mandela appointed Joe Slovo as cabinet minister. Another MK leader, Joe Modise, was made Mandela’s defense minister. Robert McBride who placed bombs in a restaurant and bar in Durban, killing 3 women and injuring 70, became a high Foreign Affairs official under Mandela.

      Mandela remained a committed Marxist believer in revolution: Let us burn and kill, so that a better political future may come. This is an old lie of the devil: “Let us do evil, that good may come.” (Rom 3:8) So committed was Mandela to violence that he chose to remain in prison for 15 years rather than abjure violence! President Mandela could have been free as early as 1974. He was offered his freedom on several occasions.

      In 1974 (or 1976, Mandela's own date) South African cabinet minister Jimmy Kruger visited Mandela in prison and tried to persuade him to abandon the armed struggle. Mandela refused. Again, Mandela could obtain freedom if he recognized Transkei, a part of the government "independent homelands" policy, which is where Mandela grew up. He again refused. See Fran Lisa Buntman, Robben Island and Prisoner Resistance to Apartheid (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), p.219, citing various original sources. Mandela himself gives a somewhat elusive version of this. (Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom, p.79) See also Bell, Terry, and Dumisa Buhle Ntsebeza. Unfinished Business: South Africa, Apartheid and Truth (London: Verso, 2003), p.138.

      There were a number of other offers of freedom afterward. Best known perhaps was South African prime minister P.W. Botha's offer in 1985 that Mandela can go free if he abandons violence as a political instrument. Mandela issued a public refusal, read by his daughter Zinzi. (Ten other prisoners serving life sentences walked free in Feb.1985 after taking up Botha’s offer, including Dennis Goldberg, one of Mandela’s co-accused in the Rivonia trial.)

      Christians should realize that Mandela’s public image is the result of careful stagecraft. For example, the media was tightly shut out from the various ancestor spirit rituals, the cattle sacrifices, the drinking of the cattle’s blood etc. to placate the ancestor spirits, that took place last week in Qunu as part of Mandela’s funeral.

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  12. I really got concerned and troubled seriously with the phrase "May his soul rest in peace" which many people used referring to Mandela. Pastor, I am so glad and I really thank God that you have tackled on this important issue and that you have clearly, fairly and biblically explained. ONLY THOSE WHO DIE IN THE LORD REST! "There is an essential difference between the decease of the godly and the death of the ungodly. Death comes to the ungodly man as a penal infliction, but to the righteous as a summons to his Father's palace. To the sinner it is an execution, to the saint an undressing from his sins and infirmities. Death to the wicked is the King of terrors. Death to the saint is the end of terrors, the commencement of glory." [Charles Spurgeon]

    Job well done pastor and God bless!


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  13. It might be good for Conrad to get in touch with Dr. Peter Hammond from South Africa

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    1. Yes you might be right, Bro. Conrad might need to get in touch with Dr. Hammond.

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    2. I think your comment is patronizing, you are free to disagree with Conrad, well and good, but for you to simply suggest that he must get in touch with some other guy, who will presumably change his view to a more 'orthodox' view on Mandela is very revealing!

      (To return the favour I would say you need to be in touch with Thabiti (http://thefrontporch.org/2013/12/the-orientation-problem-of-the-black-church/)

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  14. perhaps Conrad could get in touch with Dr. Peter Hammond of South Africa

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  15. He led his nation out of the evils of apartheid, only to lead them to embrace the greater evil of abortion. I honor him as a truly great man, but not a good man.

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  16. I think you have a very shallow understanding of your Bible Sir. It says that we will know them by their deeds and good works and not by the fact that they say they are save to anyone and everyone. Mandela did not have to talk he showed us the true meaning of the greatest fruit of the Holy Spirit which is LOVE. His deeds speak clear and louder than his tongue would.

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    1. 1. Are you suggesting that Madiba was a regenerated believer?
      2. Can a person have the 'fruit' of the Holy Spirit without the presence of the Holy Spirit?

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  17. Clever? - yes.
    Naive? - possibly.
    Biased? - regrettably.
    1. Madiba was not a 'political' prisoner in the common sense that this term is applied. He was found guilty of criminal offences, in a civil court, charges to which he pleaded guilty and to which he has commented in his autobiography 'In my own case, the court had sufficient evidence for a conviction' - the charges were not challenged. These facts should not be treated as 'negative' but as an accurate reflection of the truth. I repeat, he was not a political prisoner as you have stated.

    2. 'Hence, he says, he was forced to go into guerrilla warfare and to seek to work together with the communist party in South Africa though he did not share in their philosophy'. He was not forced to do anything - he chose to go into guerrilla warfare (a term now commonly referred to as terrorism) and for someone who does 'not share in their philosophy' to then write a book entitled 'How to be a good Communist' seems a little odd to me.

    3. I am a native of Northern Ireland, a province that has, and continues to live under the shadow of Irish Republican terrorism and the liberating, marxist, methods and philosophy they espouse. A group with which Mr Mandela enjoyed both a well documented and very cosy relationship. So much so, that the veteran leader of that grouping was not only invited to the committal proceedings but asked to be a member of his Guard of Honour. Is this the type of thing we should expect from a supposed 'icon'?

    I'm sorry, but trying to justify the dark side of Mandela insults every victim of terrorism worldwide. I do not know the rational behind your article or why you felt you had to join the great and the good and make a statement. It was ill-advised. The terrorists in Belfast have a saying, "If you have to say something, say nothing" and I offer it in this context as sound advice.

    brianvmorton@yahoo.co.uk

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  18. Mandella committed (at least sanctioned) atrocities - normally war criminals are punished. He was punished (even if not to the same degree as his victims).

    He never admitted any evil so was verbally unrepentant.

    His repentance was only evident in his godless works after release from his prison. Those works were, in the main, notwithstanding the legalisation of infanticide and other evils, generally for the benefit of society.

    Since we have not the power to see in a man's heart we are unable to declaratively determine the state of his soul. However, the biblical maxims that you will know them by their love, and by their fruits, lead us to conclude he was not a born again believer.

    Yet we are commanded to honour and respect those in authority over us for they are there a terror to bad. God is their judge and we are to live as good examples for the sake of conscience before God's servants.

    His heart was simply like a stream that He channelled to bring about His good will.

    His judgement is before him now. It is mine to avenge, I will repay, says the Lord.

    Prov 21 and Romans 13

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  19. I am amazed at how much controversy Conrad's article has generated. I have read the article with the simplicity with which it was written and I am thing "What a storm in a tea cup!" Conrad brought out the negative as well as the positive about Mandela. He is also plain about "good" works and I quote:

    "Madiba did a lot of good. But if I read my Bible correctly, no one enters heaven by his own good works. This is because our good works are tainted with sin. The best of men are men at best. God is absolutely holy and is of such pure eyes that to him our good works are like filthy rags."

    Did Conrad say Mandela will enter heaven on account of his "good" works? The answer is no. Because Conrad clearly concludes the article by saying:

    "those of us who are evangelical Christians should at best admit the fact that Mandela’s silence on his own profession of faith does not inspire us to say, “May his soul rest in peace.”

    Nothing can be clearer than that .We must admit that it is possible for an unregenerate to do good to one another by God's common grace. But this good cannot commend one before God. And Mandela falls in that group.

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    1. Mr Kampeshi, you have hit the nail on the head. I can not agree with you more. Pastor Mbewe's article is in my view very well balanced and I too am surprised at this "storm in a cup"
      Even the most wicked of men can do "some good" but all our righteous acts are filthy rags.

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  20. It is good to always catch the central theme in any writing otherwise you miss the point. A lot of people are dying in their sins because they fail to see the necessity and role of Christ in Scriptures. I believe the central theme of this post if I am not mistaken was to show us that good works cannot get us to heaven like Mr Frank Fitsa thinks. Salvation is by faith. If you are a truly regenerate believer and sound in your understanding of salvation I don't see how you can conclude that salvation is by works. So please let us catch the central theme of the post. What profit is it if you can memorize the whole Bible and miss the fact that salvation is by faith in Christ? Let us work up! A lot of people are dying without Christ. It is our task to take this message to the whole world. Yes even to the so called famous people of this world.

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  21. This article gives a very wise review of Nelson Mandela. Though he was humanly regarded as being a good man, his spiritual side was not that pronounced and his actions as many have cited titled more towards appeasing liberal behaviour.

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  22. I wish You and all Zambian Christians full in love and God's blessings Christmas!

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  23. I am also surprised that the post has generated such a storm. Indeed that's why judgement is better left to our righteous master whose eye sees everything and He is all righteousness and truth. Can I throw a challenge, give a name of any hero or nation that you consider great and I will point a thousand evils, it be a communist or non communist nation, and I will prove to you the miseries it has caused to millions. At the end of the day all have fallen short and hence why all need the vicarious work of Christ to get the acquittal before the throne of God. Let us know the difference when I show appreciation when a neighbour gives me a lift, I don't assume that for his kindness he will go to heaven. So I see nothing wrong in acknowledging postives and negatives in someone's life. It is neither Pastor Mbewe 's duty or any of our vocal brethren to condemn or justify anyone. The word of God has already given its position most clearly, all have failed and mouths should be silenced. So judging someone's character should be done with caution, and you can only highlight concerns one way or the other. I fear the pharaseical attitude is still keeping many from coming to hear the gospel. I also agree with the quote rather remain silent than judge matters when you don't have all the facts. Now who has all the full account of the negatives and the prostives about the man we are debating, leave it to Him to judge.

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  24. No Non-Christian can do any good (or is good) by the bible's standard, see Romans 3:9-20.

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  25. Abortion is just another form of apartheid instead of it been based on "race" its based on age. But abortion is the worst form of apartheid.

    Bro. Kabwata, is very wrong on what he wrote in the above article on Mandela, and to say "Personally, I think that anyone who writes about Mandela and leaves us with a negative impression of his political ideals tells us more about himself than he tells us about Mandela", is to put it nicely a blow below the belt.

    Dr. Peter Hammond, of South Africa, and some of the commenters here are very correct about the evilness, and wickedness of Mandela.

    Mandela, was a marxist, communist, socialist person. And these philosophies don't bring freedom they always bring slavery, destroy economies, etc. So Mandela, was fighting to put his people under another system that was more evil, wicked, and destructive even though he thought differently, that he was fighting for, bringing freedom to South Africa. South Africa is in worst shape now than before, during the evil, wicked, destructive "racial" apartheid system.

    I'm black, and I'm from St. Kitts in the West Indies.

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  26. I remember standing to pray in Ferndale Baptist Church, a white managed church, for Mandela's soul. Asking the Father to open Mandela's eyes to his true spiritual condition and the wonderful Saviour Yeshua HaMashiach.
    I sensed some grudging amens to the prayer. Yeshua died for all men. Black and white yellow and red. The man has finally left this guilty sod. Did God save the man by the skin of his teeth in the dying moments? Only God knows. Only God knows.

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  27. You who stand in unrighteous judgement over the dead man did you during his time on earth plead with the Father for this man's soul? You who claim access to the throne of grace, did you many a time, with bended knee, ask for grace, marvellous grace to be bestowed upon Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela? Did you?
    May the Yeshua teach you what it meaneth that cross uplifted high with one the Man of sorrows condemned to bleed and die! O to know the value of a soul!

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